I went to a yoga class Saturday, held in an art studio in our small town. Yoga is one of those things that I always intend to do, but never actually do. I’m a runner. I don’t do things like “relax” or “slow down.” I'm a cardio junkie. I live to make my heart beat as fast as possible.
I ran first on Saturday, however. We ran eight miles, grabbed coffee, and went to yoga. The familiar scent of eucalyptus and lavender in the air, I committed to an hour of pushing my body in a very different way. It was energizing, in a way that only slowing down for sixty minutes can be.
“This is the most difficult part of our session,” the instructor warned as the hour drew to a close.
Oh God, I thought. She’s going to make us do more planks.
“I want you to close your eyes,” she said in her smooth, calming tone. “Clear your mind and be still.”
The difficult part doesn't always look that way at first glance.
There’s the difficult we know; the things we identify as obstacles from a mile away. The hills we run up and sail down every day of our lives. Arms pumping, lungs burning we charge up them with all the strength we can muster. They bring us back to earth each and every time. The hills test our will and they sometimes break our hearts—always leaving us gasping for air at the top.
But the difficult we don’t know is often the hardest. It’s the lying still on a yoga mat that smells like lavender, trying to clear your buzzing mind. Waiting patiently for the thing you want, only to end each day feeling like you only grazed it with the tips of your fingers.
I once read that in your life, lessons will be repeated until they’re learned. Over and over again, the same things will present themselves to you for a very specific reason. For me, it’s this: I am not in charge. I cannot control everything—or anything, depending on the scenario—and I need to let go and simply let life happen.
And sometimes, you need a yoga mat coated in a calming oil to quietly remind you of the lesson you can't quite learn.